Owner Valerie Beck and her team of chocophile tour guides lead guests on walking tours of Chicago’s historical bakeries and chocolatiers, narrating the history of beloved sweets while walking an easy route through vistas of Chicago’s stunning architectural heritage. While snacking on samples of sweets, guests learn about chocolate’s storied history, the cupcake’s rise to prominence, and how to guess the flavor of filling inside Oompa Loompas by sight. Tours convene throughout Chicago’s many neighborhoods, giving guests a sneak peek into Chicago's signature confections, boutique shops, and mobile sweet-vending trucks. The chocolate or cupcake jaunts provide the perfect setting for a girls’ day out or bachelorette party, showing tour-goers the sweeter side of the city without getting caught in construction sites of shoddily built gingerbread houses.
Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute was created with a mission in mind: to conduct programs and events that promote Chinese language and culture, and to facilitate relationships between Chinese and American cultures. Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute offers corporate services such as cross-cultural and language training, helping bridge any gaps between employees who might travel between countries or consider dipping hands in a vat of honey before sealing a business deal. Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute also hosts various tours: walking tours guide explorers through Chinatown, exploring architectural fixtures and businesses of the area, whereas food tours entreat guests to visit several restaurants and shops, sampling appetizers, entrees, and teas.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust is a Chicago-area nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of one of the most influential architects of the modern era. Wright's Oak Park Home and Studio was built between 1889 and 1898 and served as the architect's workshop, in which he experimented with new design concepts, including the groundbreaking prairie style, as well as the lesser-known tiger style and mantis style. The Robie House, a Hyde Park Wright project designed for Chicago businessman Frederick C. Robie, is considered a Wright masterpiece and a centerpiece of modern architecture. All excursions are led by the Preservation Trust's expertly trained guides, who stand ready to impart bits of knowledge, answer tough questions, and pause for pictures with celebrity pillars and buttresses.
The bronze likeness of Michael Jordan—the Bulls' #23 and basketball's undisputed king—leaps into the air in front of the United Center, ascending into the annals of sports history. Across town, the sound of Babe Ruth's most famous homer rebounds off of the iconic walls of Wrigley Field. The Roman-meets-modern architecture of Soldier Field—where Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, and "The Fridge" grew to larger-than-life—straddles Chicago's lakefront. The resounding Black Sox scandal clashes with the victorious 2005 World Series Champs banners at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox's famous exploding scoreboard towers above the Bridgeport neighborhood.
During an air-conditioned bus ride, local comedians wax historic as tourists are brought within earshot and camera-shot of Chicago's proudest pro-sports franchises. The Chicago Sports Tour parades from the North to the South side, brushing shoulders with famous ballparks and weaving through more than a century of athletic anecdotes and civic pride. Augmented by laughs and entertainment, it reveals more than the brick-and-mortar façades of the famous stadiums. The guides bring each building to life with fascinating anecdotes, and rides from one stadium to the next cover neighborhoods such as Wrigleyville, Bridgeport, and Little Italy—where fans and players alike eat, drink, and argue about their favorite peanut vendors.:m]]
In the middle of a tour, a young woman began arguing with her mother, causing the guide to quietly usher the rest of the group away from the quarreling family members. Even if they had stayed, the other tour participants would have only heard half the dispute. That's because the mother was dead. At Chicago Ghost Investigations, instances like these in which guests are confronted by spirits of their past are jokingly referred to as Bring Your Own Ghost moments. Owner Brian is all too familiar with these types of encounters, experiencing one himself while serving with the US Army's 101st Airborne Division. While shivering in a foxhole, Brian suddenly found himself looking down at his body from above. Beside him stood his deceased grandfather, donning a tuxedo and red bow tie.
Brian has been fascinated with ghosts ever since, sharing his passion during each paranormal encounter at Chicago Ghost Investigations. During an introductory session, he supplies guests with a bag of ghost hunting equipment, including divination rods, thermal indicators. Along with these tools, Brian and his fellow guides teach participants methods for communicating with the dead. From there, newly christened ghost hunters seek out spirits inside a warehouse once used by Al Capone, which NBC New York now calls the "spookiest place in Chicago."
Sidewalk Food Tours of Chicago introduces tourists and locals to the Windy City's thriving food scene via deep-dish pizzas, hot dogs, and ethnic cuisine. Two neighborhoods in particular brim with famous restaurants and hidden eateries: Wicker Park and River North.
On their streets, Sidewalk Food Tours of Chicago's local guides lead groups on walking explorations, pausing frequently to taste everything from cupcakes to Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless's Mexican cuisine. Food stands at the crossroads of each neighborhood's culture, and the guides use it as a jumping off point to discuss local history and architecture. They might spin tales of how Wicker Park was once a hotbed of European immigration or how River North accumulated a wealth that would make John D. Rockefeller's piggy bank tremble with envy.